AN historic part of Portland is set to benefit from a major fundraising drive.

Dukes Auctioneers of Dorchester are helping to preserve the island’s heritage by sponsoring the latest fundraising event organised by trustee Phil Traves of the Island of Portland Heritage Trust.

The trust is raising funds to pay for structural repairs and the restoration of the arches which front the old St George’s School, now a community centre, in Reforne, Easton.

The latest fundraising venture is an antiques valuation evening which will be held at St George’s Centre on Friday, March 30, starting at 7pm.

Three experts from Dukes will be on hand to value and explain the history of items including jewellery, ceramics, paintings, vintage toys and collectibles.

St George’s was originally built as a primary school for the children of Tophill during the 1850s and the final bell was rung in 1965.

It remained unused and gradually became derelict until The Island of Portland Heritage Trust was formed to save these fine Grade II-listed buildings in the early 1980s, when massive renovation was carried out by the trust through the Manpower Services Commission.

This resulted in how it is today with two fine halls, the Skylark studio, up-to-date kitchen and toilet facilities and the Portland History Study Centre.

The complex is now used extensively by many local organisations.

The distinctive front arches have stood the test of time until recently when Albion Stone spent £17,500 on restoring the original stonework to its original condition in keeping with listed buildings and conservation guidelines.

Entry to the valuation evening costs £3 on the door and this covers the valuation of one item. Extra valuations cost £1.50 each.

Dukes will also be supplying wine and nibbles.

Phil Traves expressed his gratitude to Dukes and said: “A great deal of interest has been shown in this event and not only are people bringing their items for valuation, but others are coming along for what should be an entertaining evening, not to hear the individual valuations but just to be amazed by the treasures from other people’s attics.”